It seems odd the we would repeat the 13 middos of God three times in a row, it is as if we are saying there are 39 middos. So why do we say the Sh'losh Esrei Middos three times in a row on the yomim naroim when taking out the Sefer Torah from the Ark?

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    There are lots of places where Kabbalistic practices involve repeating things set numbers of times. Go figure. – Double AA Aug 24 '15 at 17:14
  • I reread your question & noticed that you only mentioned the High Holidays. I wanted to verify this was your intention, as I deleted something I prev. mentioned in my answer, as there are minhagim to say only on High Holidays and others that say also on ALL holidays. Is it your minhag to say only on High Holidays? You may want to clarify this by editing your Q. – DanF Aug 24 '15 at 17:46
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    Can you source the idea that repeating it 3 times makes it look like there are 39 middos (especially considering they're the same 13 middos repeated)? I would assume that we were just giving a certain level of importance to this particular passage, which is why we were repeating it (or like @DoubleAA mentioned, a mystical importance to the number 3). On the other hand, I know that some people avoid repeating words while singing certain prayers, in order to prevent it sounding like a different meaning (i.e. the word Torah in Vayehi Binsoa Ha'aron shouldn't be repeated). – Salmononius2 Aug 24 '15 at 19:05

See pp. 159 - 160 of this book. He states that R. Isaac Luria instituted the threefold repetition.

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    Does it say why he did so? – Double AA Aug 24 '15 at 17:50
  • @DoubleAA The source does not state why. Then, again, the OP's question of asking "Why do we say..." is ambiguous, too. Sometimes, you get an unexplained minhag. That could still be an answer. – DanF Aug 24 '15 at 18:03
  • Being that it's from the Ariza"l (R. Yitzchak Luria), it's nearly certainly from Kabbalah – user613 Aug 24 '15 at 21:43
  • @user613 There's prob. something inherent in the #3, and I suspect that he requested saying 13 Middot 3 times b/c many other things are said 3 times, for some reason. I.e. - it's not specific to 13 Middot. If you discover anything that is specific why 13 middot are 3 times, please edit it into my answer. – DanF Aug 24 '15 at 22:28

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